Lahontan Water Board Receives $2.67 Million Grant to Clean up Perchlorate Plume Near Barstow

By April 6, 2017News

VICTORVILLE, Calif. – The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Lahontan Water Board) announced it has received a $2.67 million grant to clean up a perchlorate plume near Barstow that has affected several private well owners’ drinking water supplies.Funds from the grant award, issued by the State Water Resources Control Board’s Site Cleanup Subaccount Program (SCAP), will be used for a feasibility study and pilot project in an area northeast of Barstow in San Bernardino County. The pilot project will treat contaminated dirt by installing a soil-flushing unit over the area where perchlorate salts were illegally dumped. In addition, groundwater extraction wells will be installed to capture perchlorate flushed from the soil. The extracted perchlorate-contaminated water will be treated to remove the perchlorate and the finished water will be re-injected into the aquifer. Monitoring wells will be installed to track the groundwater plume and determine the effectiveness of the treatment system.

Several private wells in the area are contaminated with perchlorate, a chemical used for making fireworks and solid-fuel rockets. Some wells have levels of perchlorate as high as 2,400 parts per billion (ppb). The drinking water standard for the contaminant is 6 ppb. Several other wells in the area are threatened by the perchlorate plume and could be contaminated if the pollutant is not cleaned up. The Lahontan Water Board is currently providing bottled water to those whose wells are contaminated with perchlorate.

“Cleanup will begin soon to fix a long-standing pollution problem that affects the heart of the Barstow community,” said Patty Kouyoumdjian, executive officer for the Lahontan Water Board. “We are pleased to lead this effort to ensure safe drinking water for residents.”

The Lahontan Water Board received the grant money from SCAP, a new program established by Senate Bill 445 (Hill, 2014) authorizing grants for projects to remediate the harm to human health, safety, or the environment caused by existing or threatened surface or groundwater contamination. Senate Bill 445 allows the regional water boards to apply for grant money to clean up “orphaned sites” where there is no viable responsible party to pay for the cleanup costs. The perchlorate-contaminated site near Barstow – once a local business owner’s private residence where the pollutant was stored — is considered an orphan site because no viable responsible party can be identified as the owner is no longer living. The Lahontan Water Board will oversee implementation of the grant-funded work, which is expected to occur in early summer 2017.    For more information about the perchlorate-contaminated site near Barstow, see the Lahontan Water Board website:

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board is a California state agency responsible for the preservation and enhancement of the quality of California’s water resources in eastern California. For more information about the Lahontan Water Board visit its website.

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